ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Southern Baptists who want to immediately assist survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti now have a practical, hands-on way to help: participating in the “Buckets of Hope” ministry.
The idea resulted from the Jan. 26 Haiti response planning meeting in south Florida, attended by representatives of the Florida Baptist Convention, the International Mission Board, Baptist Global Response and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
“The Buckets of Hope ministry is just one means by which Southern Baptists can fulfill the mandate of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry in His name,” said Mickey Caison, adult volunteer mobilization team leader for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga.
Caison cited Matthew 25:40, which quotes Jesus saying, “I assure you: whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Once the buckets arrive in Haiti, they will be distributed by the Haitian Baptist churches, Caison said. “We want Haitians to see Haitian Baptists meeting their needs. That’s our long-term strategy,” Caison explained. “That will have a positive, long-term effect on future ministry in Haiti.”
Acting individually, as families, Sunday school classes or other groups, Southern Baptists can purchase white, five-gallon buckets and pack them with required foodstuffs for $30 each. The food in a single bucket can feed a Haitian family for a week. Baptists also are asked to include a $10 cash contribution — placed in an envelope and attached to the bucket’s lid — to help with the costs of shipping the buckets directly to Haiti.
The five-gallon, white bucket (with a handle) may be purchased at Wal-Mart (SKU# 00982650640). The bucket must be new, unused and without any logo or other commercial imprint. It must include a tight-fitting lid. After the food has been consumed, the bucket will remain as a handy item for use by the Haitian family.
The food contents of the bucket can be generic, store-brand items consisting of rice, cooking oil, dry black beans, all-purpose flour (not self-rising), white sugar, spaghetti noodles, peanut butter and a zip-lock plastic storage bag. Buckets cannot contain additional or substituted food items other than those specified. Uniform buckets and food contents will minimize problems with U.S. and Haitian customs.
For specific information about the food contents and how to uniformly pack each bucket, go to www.namb.net/bucketsofhope for complete, detailed instructions.
“Buckets of Hope” must be delivered to each state Baptist convention disaster relief director by March 15. Each convention will develop a collection process and delivery deadline. States will be responsible for delivering the buckets to a Hialeah, Fla., warehouse for placement in cargo containers for shipment to Haiti.
Prior to loading in cargo containers, a label in French Creole will be placed on each bucket that indicates the bucket is a gift of Christian love and support from Southern Baptists.
A PDF-format flyer that can be distributed to explain the project is available at www.namb.net/bucketsofhope. A PDF-format insert to use in church bulletins to encourage their members to pray and give to the Haiti disaster relief effort is available for download at www.namb.net/drbulletin.
Mickey Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.
Southern Baptists can contribute to “Haiti Earthquake Disaster Relief” through their local church or directly to their state convention, the North American Mission Board (www.namb.net) or the International Mission Board (www.imb.org):
— The North American Mission Board has set up a Haiti disaster relief fund that will direct money to state conventions and other Southern Baptists who are doing relief work in Haiti. Donations may be made online, www.NAMB.net, by phone, 1-866-407-6262, or by mail, North American Mission Board, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Make checks payable to “Haiti Disaster Relief Fund/NAMB.” Donations may now be made via cell phone and text message by texting nambdr to 40579. A $10 donation will be charged to your cell phone account and then sent to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief by your cell phone provider.
— Initial funding for the relief effort will come from the International Mission Board’s disaster relief fund. Contributions can be made online, www.imb.org, or by mail, International Mission Board, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230.
Regardless of the SBC channel, all funds received for this purpose will go to relief efforts; none will be used for administrative costs.
Baptist Global Response is located on the Internet at www.gobgr.org.